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How has corporate affairs changed? With Sian O'Keefe, vice president of corporate affairs, Mars Wrigley Europe, Central Eurasia, Belarus and Turkey

Welcome to the PRmoment Podcast.

This week we’re chatting about the role of modern corporate affairs with Sian O'Keefe, vice president of corporate affairs, Mars Wrigley Europe, Central Eurasia, Belarus & Turkey.

It’s a corporate affairs special this week and Sian and I talked about the increased breadth and importance of the corporate affairs role within large businesses.

We’ll discuss the reasons behind this change, where the most important intersections are within a business for a corporate affairs leader and how ESG and a rapidly changing stakeholder environment have increased the demands on most corporate affairs teams.

Before we start the PRmoment Awards 2023 are now open for entries - do check out the awards site

Thanks to the PRmoment Podcast sponsors, The PRCA.

Here’s a summary of what Sian and PRmoment founder Ben Smith discussed:

1.30 mins Sian talks us through the role of modern corporate affairs.

“The role of corporate affairs has changed…our stakeholders expect us to communicate regularly through a variety of different channels and media.”

“Our job is about accessing the external landscape”

4.30 mins What are the key responsibilities of a corporate affairs leader?

2 mins How much has corporate affairs changed in the last few years?

6.30mins How often does the corporate affairs team need to interact with the CEO and on what type of issues?

7 mins What are the other key connections within a business for the corporate affairs director?

“Spot the opportunities to tell our stories”

“People come up with a lot of great ideas but time and resources are not infinite”

10 mins How has the increased importance of ESG changed the priorities of the corporate affairs role?

“Mars’ corporate purpose: The world we want tomorrow starts with how we do business today”

12 mins Sian talks us through how Mars has tried to bring a purpose to chewing gum because it's not the most obvious purpose-lead product.

“The public look to organisations to have a purpose and play a positive role…it can get quite complicated if every brand has a purpose”

15.30 mins What range of skills do you need in a modern corporate affairs department?

“The critical skills in being successful in corporate affairs are adaptability, resilience, innate curiosity…and business acumen.”

16 mins What does the average day in corporate affairs look like, how do you bring a process to the role?

17.30 mins What does a corporate affairs leader want from their agency?

19 mins A discussion about whether the central reason public relations has grown so much over the past 10 years is that stakeholder engagement has become more important.

20.30 mins Do organisations have a choice about whether they will engage with stakeholders, or has it become a cost of doing business?

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